Saturday, 11 January 2014

Where's the snow?

I cannot recall a winter in Warsaw which has been so bereft of frost and snow. Good news of course when paying the gas bills... but I can't help thinking there's something unnatural about such a long stretch of December and January with positive temperatures and pavement visible.

Headlines from around the world tell of more anomalies - record frosts in America (though with their nutty Fahrenheit system, it's not immediately apparent just how cold it's been there), Britain lashed with gales and sodden with rainwater, Argentina baking in record 44C heat, 50C heatwave taking a toll on Australian wildlife... Most unsettling.

At least in Poland this anomaly is a temperate one. I've been going to work in my jesionka, literally autumn coat, rather than my M-65 parka with fur-trapper hat.

Below: Pl. Powstańców Warszawy, shortly before sunrise, on Thursday morning. In the past week, on Sunday 5th, Tuesday 7th, Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th January, the daytime high exceeded +9C.

Below: Pasaż Wiecha, the rising sun reflecting from the Novotel. In the foreground the backs of  Marks and Spencers, Reserved and C&A. Weedy-looking Christmas lighting confirms the time of year.

Below: after sunset, the previous day, Wednesday 7th January. WOŚP banner on side of the Palace of Culture identifies the photo as being taken in January - yet where is the snow?

Weather forecast suggests that Monday will be frosty, dipping below zero, but with no snow. Sub-zero temperatures (just) for the time being then.

This time two years off:
Two drink-free days a week, British MPs urge

This time three years ago:
Depopulating Polish cities?

This time four years ago:
Powiśle on a winter's morning

This time five years ago:
Sunny, snowy Jeziorki

This time six years ago:
Eddie's giant soap bubble


AndrzejK said...

It is comforting that Putin's receipts from sales of gas are falling. And I must admit that the older I get the more I appreciate lack of snow. In town it looks pretty for a couple of hours and quickly turns into a nightmare. Snow belongs in the countryside - end of story.

As for snow in the UK folk memory tells of the winter just after WW2 when England was snow bound for months on end. Tout ca change.

I can also recall my first Christmas spent in Poland when on Boxiny Day it was plus 12 degrees C.

student SGH said...

Michael, you'd better recall winter of 2007/08 which has been covered on your blog. Your today's post links to another one, dated 12 January 2008. There was very little snow then and double-digit frost was recorded twice (early January 2008 and mid-February 2008)

The winter 2006/07 was, in its first phase was warmer than any other after WW2. In December 2006 average temperature in Warsaw was +4.0C, vs. +2.4C in 2013 and +2.6C in 2011. January 2007 was the warmest in history, with average temperature of +3.7C. First snow that winter fell on 24 January 2007 (Wednesday, remember it will), then moderate winter lasted until last days of February 2007.

And recall the winter of 2011/12. There was no proper winter until mid-January and at the end of January came the 17-day-long frost-wave, bringing double-digit subzero temperatures, in its nadir reaching -23C at night and day-time highs of -15C.

So every scenario for the coming weeks is possible. Mild winter might continue, but the early 2012 rough ride might repeat as well. Judging by weather patterns from the last decades, I dare to argue it is unlikely that winter would last long.

student SGH said...

Who cares about the snow on the photo at the bottom.

A discerning eye would see a Ford Escort Ghia (trim version) in immaculate conditions, black plates suggest it is still used by the first owner.